Joe Wertz

StateImpact Oklahoma

Joe has previously served as Managing Editor of Urban Tulsa Weekly, as the Arts & Entertainment Editor at Oklahoma Gazette and worked as a Staff Writer for The Oklahoman. Joe was a weekly correspondent for KGOU from 2007-2010. He grew up in Bartlesville, Okla., lives in Oklahoma City, and studied journalism at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Science Advances

Scientists may have a promising seismic forecast for Oklahoma over the next few years: A lot less shaky with a smaller chance for damaging earthquakes.

Newly published research bolsters a growing body of scientific findings linking the state’s earthquake boom and the underground injection of large amounts of wastewater from oil and gas production, but suggests the shaking could taper off after 2016.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

From board rooms to drilling rigs, much of the U.S. fossil fuel industry has been counting down the days until President Barack Obama turns over the keys of the White House. Donald Trump doesn’t officially take the wheel of the nation’s energy policy for a couple of months, but Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry says its prospects have already improved under the president-elect.

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Larry Smith / Flickr

A political panel tasked with evaluating state tax incentives voted Tuesday to approve a report that recommended curbing a tax credit used by the wind industry.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma legislators are under pressure to fund teacher raises and pay for health insurance coverage, workers comp, criminal justice initiatives and state prisons from a pool of money that could be $600 million short of what’s needed.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Attorneys are asking a judge in Pawnee County to approve a class-action lawsuit against oil and gas companies after the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that shook the area in September.

The action was brought on behalf of Pawnee resident James Adams. If a judge approves, other residents could join the lawsuit against oil and gas companies operating wastewater disposal wells in the area.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma voters on Tuesday soundly rejected State Question 777, a ballot measure that would have made farming and ranching a state constitutional right. The final tally was roughly 60 percent against and 40 percent in favor of the amendment — a difference of more than 290,000 votes.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The magnitude-5.0 earthquake that struck near Cushing on Sunday caused one minor injury and damaged about 50 buildings. The shaking forced authorities to evacuate an assisted living center and left piles of rubble and broken glass on the streets.

Emergency crews worked through the night to secure buildings and survey destruction after the quake, which knocked out power and sheared brick facades off century-old buildings. 

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

When Oklahoma voters go to the polls next week, they’ll decide on State Question 777, known by supporters as the right-to-farm amendment. The measure would make farming and ranching a constitutional right and make it harder for the Legislature to enact laws that further regulate the agriculture industry.

American Geophysical Union

Wastewater injection into clusters of high-rate disposal wells likely triggered a 5.1-magnitude earthquake that struck western Oklahoma in February 2016, new research suggests.

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